Letter from Elizabeth Blackwell to Anna Q. T. Parsons, Dec. 7, 18--
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- Blackwell, Elizabeth, 1821-1910, Correspondence, Blackwell, Elizabeth, 1821-1910, Abernethy Manuscripts Collection
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representation, and corrupt political system must pass away. I am rather inclined to think it unwise to spend much noble and invaluable effort, in the attempt to procure a vote, or an election to Congress. This feeling has made me somewhat relieved in my action towards the Womans' Convention - I need not tell you how heartily I accept their principles as mine - words would only be weak. But I felt that if I went to Worcester, I must go with my whole soul, and give no lukewarm praise - this I could not now, conscientiously do, therefore I staid quietly away. I do not want however to discuss the matter now - it would take me too long, for I should have to explain to you of the difficult experiences of my medical career, which guide me in my judgement of the political one. I wanted simply to let you feel, that my staying away from the Convention, was from no lack, of sympathy honor, or deep interest in the movement. Now, to my business - I find myself here in New York - in a new position, without the support of professional friends, without that centre which every young physician has in the old institutions - exciting more curiosity than an Institution for the reception of Women affected with various chronic diseases; and having them completely under my care. I shall be able to use the various agents in which I have faith, to the best advantage. Now I have at present no means to do so, at my disposal - but so fully am I convinced that this would prove a grand first step in womans' practice, that I mean to make the means - I shall endeavour to procure a pleasant country seat, in a healthy situation, with a cheerful attractive neighborhood (near our beautiful North River if possible) within an easy distance of town - now I want to make my Sanitorium, a centre of healthy spiritual as well as material influence - I shall want the women who come to me to depart better in every way, and to convey with them to the South & the West & to all sections of our land lasting impressions of good. Of course the special medical department will be my own immediate care, and all the amusements, as swimming, shooting, riding singing, &c I shall generally direct - I shall engage lecturers occasionally from New York, & employ numerous other suited times or sedatives &c - but to carry out my thought fully I must find a spiritual physician to aid me any other feeling in the Women, for they wait to be told whether they shall respect my professional services as not - and more than this, with the firm conviction that the old system of drugging, is, on the whole, more injurious than beneficial, and that only in the minority of cases, can I by that means cure disease - The heresies of medicine do not aid me - they are developing valuable but partial truths. I am in the position in which many women will soon find themselves, when they have passed through the comparatively easy course of preliminary study, & have the enormous difficulties of practice & prejudice to contend with. Now it is essential for the welfare of my undertaking, that the practice of the first acknowledged woman physician, should be eminently successful - I must cure disease more surely than any brethren - for this purpose, I must call in agents which they neglect, but in which I have unbounded faith - air, food, diet, exercise, & mental influences must aid me. I want much to introduce into practice the active & passive movements of Ling (Kivesipathy) which will prove valuable aids, to the physician - It therefore seems to me clear, that I must open and apply these general means specially - a woman (I think) of large sympathies, a magnetic nature, who will understand the spiritual wants of every patient, and have the desire & the skill to apply the remedy - of course she must have a nominal material office, but her real employment - one of infinite Value - would be spiritual direction. Now I want you, dear Miss Parsons if you feel any interest in my plan, to hear it in mind, and send me word, if you can find my priest - I have faith in your insight, so I apply to you. I shall want also an active trustworthy housekeeper, but that will be easier to find. I think such an institution as I meditate might be made very beautiful - I think also that it would be very successful. I shall try to be ready to open it in March [page torn] I should advertise widely in northern [page torn] -ern papers. I should not expect to make much money for myself - I should wish to perfect my establishment, pay my assistants liberally, and then be able to organize many other institutions that I have in my head - - For my spiritual physician, if I can find her (or him if it should chance to be a man) of course I should not wish to limit such services by a salary - if she shared my thought & my enthusiasm she would be partner, and though the pecuniary relations should be definite, they should be equal. I thnk it will be wise, not to mention my scheme at present - I have much to do, before it will be on a substantiated basis in the estimation of people generally - but I confide it to you, because I am sure you will aid me by your judgement if you can. Do not attempt to write to me - let me professionally forbid it - I will let you know if I succeed in my effort and if you meet with my partners, you will send me a few words only. Much [page torn] should like to see you - I would ask you many questions - perhaps I could cure you! Will you be one of my patients next year? Yesterday I saw our Hungarian Hero. I could not gaze at him without tears. Ever your friend Elizabeth Blackwell. 44 University Place New York. Dec 7th My dear Miss Parsons Thank you for the kind greeting which you sent me in my sister's letter, and all the good wishes, which I hope may be realized - I have felt the truth of your sympathy in the past. I shall rely upon it in the future, and I want now to confer with you, upon a project of mine, which I think may be made very useful in a wide sense, and therefore I bring it before you. First however, let me say a few words with regard to the Womans Convention - I honour that Convention deeply, and I am truly delighted to see the wide respect which it has gained, but my own mind is not fully made up, as to the wisdom of Woman's entering into political action at present. If I believed that the present system of society were permanent, I should demand undoubtedly, that everything belonging to human interest, be thrown freely open to all; but being from deep conviction, an Associationist, and knowing that the present inefficient
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